Does your jaw hurt? Join the club, and then try these easy tricks for TMJ relief.
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
The average person’s jaw opens and closes around 20,000 times per day. Which is why disorders of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, are such bad news. Unfortunately, they’re also very common, with over 3 million people seeking TMJ relief in the United States every year. Whether you consider jaw discomfort an annoyance or a life-destroying physical problem depends on how bad your TMJ is out of wack.
Some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder (TMD) are obvious, like these:
Pain in the jaw muscles
A bite that feels “off”
No comfortable or natural way to hold the jaw
Clicking, popping, or grating of the jaw joint
Locking of the jaw
A jaw that opens “crookedly,” as if one side opens faster or wider than the other
Of course, it’s normal to have one or two of these symptoms at some point or another. A muscle strain, injury, or stress could cause the jaw to click or ache for several weeks or months. But with TMJ disorder, it never ends. In fact, TMJ disorder (TMJ-D or TMD) affects much more than just the jaw. Due to the complex connections between the muscles and tendons related to your head, neck, shoulders and the rest of you, TMJ disorder can cause problems far and wide:
Ear pain, pressure, fullness, itching, or “stickiness” with no apparent cause
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
Pain in the neck, shoulders and back
Dry mouth from decreased saliva flow
One more bummer about TMJ disorders: There’s no simple cure. While TMD sufferers can try a range of treatment options such as surgeries, splints, orthodontic modifications, and Botox, the National Health Institute warns that the risks and benefits of these procedures still need more research. Experts strongly recommend sticking to the simplest, least invasive treatments possible.
Easy TMJ Relief Jaw Exercise
This simple TMJ relief exercise is based on something called reciprocal inhibition. Basically, when muscles contract on one side of a joint, the muscles on the other side must relax. You can hack this system to relieve the clenched-up, stubborn part of your jaw.
Gently put your fist below your chin, like you’re pretending to pay attention.
Open your jaw, letting your chin push your fist downward. Resist only gently with your fist — just enough to make your jaw push a little.
Hold your jaw like this silently for seven seconds.
Drop your fist and relax your jaw as much as possible (big exhale!) for three seconds.
Repeat at least three times.
Although I approve of my clients trying some at home self care I do advise trying an in office session first. During your first session you will get an idea for what muscles are needed to be released and what that will feel like when you try it at home. The amount of tightness and pain you feel will be drastically reduced after your first session and in some cases the disorder can be reversed in as few as four sessions.
To schedule your session click the link below: